Haystacks Solar Garden pioneers accessible solar energy for all Australians

The launch of Haystacks Solar Garden in Grong Grong introduces a pioneering community-focused model, allowing all Australians, including renters and apartment dwellers, to access solar energy benefits.

Haystacks solar garden
Image: Haystacks Solar Garden

Grong Grong, a small town in the Riverina region, will mark a significant moment in Australia's energy history on Saturday, April 27 with the launch of the Haystacks Solar Garden. This pioneering project is set to redefine how Australians access solar energy, particularly for the 30% who have faced barriers like renting or living in apartments.

Kim Mallee, the Haystacks Project Manager and Community Power Agency Director, explains, "This is a really big day for the Australian energy sector."

"Haystacks Solar Garden has pioneered a new community-focused way of doing clean energy. It is a proof of concept for industry, demonstrating that there are many different ways to do solar and share the benefits with everyday people. Community energy projects like ours are a critical part of ensuring that the energy transition is both fast and fair.” said Ms Mallee.

Haystacks Solar Garden is hosted by the purpose built 1.5MW Grong Grong Solar Farm that completed construction in March and this week began exporting electricity to the grid.

“We’re making history here with Haystacks Solar Garden. I’m a renter, I live in a unit and my partner and I are both in our 80's! We deeply care about equity in the shift to clean energy and this is a way of making the benefits of renewables accessible to all,” said Haystacks Solar Gardener, Jean Hay.

“Haystacks Solar Garden proves that solar can be made accessible for everyone - regardless of where you live or your tenure status, nobody needs to be locked out of benefiting from solar,” said Kristy Walters, Haystacks Solar Garden Co-op Chairperson.

The solar garden consists of 175 plots purchased by households across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, with estimated savings of $883,750 over the project's 10-year lifespan.

The launch of Haystacks Solar Garden comes after the Commonwealth Government's recent announcement of $30 million towards solar banks and onsite rooftop solar installation, aimed at increasing solar accessibility for low-income renters and apartment dwellers.

Haystacks Solar Garden is a joint effort between Community Power Agency, Pingala, and Komo Energy, with Energy Locals serving as the participating electricity retailer. The project is funded by the NSW Government under the Regional Community Energy Fund, in collaboration with the Haystacks Solar Garden Co-operative.

To read more about how the solar garden works, go to the Haystacks website here.

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